2018 / WHAT I WISH I KNEW ABOUT GROWING UP BEFORE I DID
As we head into a new year, here's a little advice to my younger self from the older-and-wiser me.
I remember being a fresh-faced and slightly clueless 22 year old and hearing a lot of talk about turning 27.
It was supposedly 365 days of one's life that you should both beware of and be excited for.
Of course 27 was the fateful age that gave meaning to the 27 Club (although I was pretty sure that my lack of any musical talent meant I would live to see another day and damage another ear drum).
But a former boss also told me that, according to a big research study, 27 was said to be the best year of your life. Pre being responsible for any other human but yourself, post living off a student loan and a two-minute noodle diet.
Of course that made me curious about what exactly my year would entail, if I was to believe the statistics. Well, fast forward six years, to the beginning of 2018, and my year of being 27 has now officially been and gone. Thankfully I avoided getting my membership to the 27 Club but how did it stack up?
In those 365 days: Tom and I bought a house, we decided to call the other side of the world home and, thanks to one hot air balloon ride on the way over, he's one step closer to putting the husband in Instahusband (💍). It's been a year of ticking off the world on our travels while trying to make our own marks on it in our spare time. And it certainly could have ended a lot worse than watching the sun go down on another year from the snowy slopes of the Austrian Alps.
Looking back on it, it was one hell of a year. But back when I was looking forward to it (as that 22-year-old girl), here's what I wish I could have told myself then:
- 27 will come around & it will come around quickly -
Before you know it your social feeds will go from midly-appropriate photos from twenty-firsts to being dominated by nuptials and nappies. Your favourite Saturday night antics of a night out with the girls will be quickly superseded by a night in with a bottle of red and a bubble bath. Those who have aged before us certainly weren't joking when they said that time flies by quicker as you get older, so a tip: don't wish your life away today by looking forward to what's to come. 27 might turn out to be the best year of your life but that doesn't mean you can't make all the days, weeks and years leading up to it f'ing awesome as well. Listen to Macklemore - someday these will be the good old days.
- Have a rough idea not a plan -
I remember chatting to some girlfriends back in our uni days about how we wanted life to unfold. That we wanted a first kid by 28, which would mean being married by 26, engaged for two years before that, living together, dating etc etc. So that means we should have met Mr. Right... The day before we started thinking about it. F*#$. None of us ended up sticking to our "ideal timeline" because, as it turns out, it doesn't exist - and life didn't turn out too badly. Things happen when they're meant to happen. The time you spend worrying about when they will - when you're going to finally meet the one, get a ring on that finger, clamber your way onto the property ladder - is just time wasted. You may not be clued up on it but life has a plan for you, so go with it.
- Shit happens -
You already know that. And unfortunately the shit doesn't disappear as your twenties do. So stay strong, don't blame yourself, know that it's OK not to be OK and don't try and deal with it all on your own. Going through a hard patch solo just makes it even harder, and chances are that each and every one of your support crew will need you to return the favour down the line. The saying may be totally cliché but it's pretty damn accurate - "it will all be OK in the end, and if it's not OK then it's not the end". So learn what you can from those darker days and then take great enjoyment in giving them the middle finger when you move onwards and upwards.
- Ditto for heartbreak -
You'll think life is over, that you'll never love again and that you're destined to find love in the form of forty cats. But a broken heart is simply life's way of getting rid of the wrong guys so the right one can come along. And trust me, he comes along. (Your twenty-seventh year will even be the year that you end up saying 'yes' to spending the rest of your life with him).
- Loosen up -
Yup, you're a perfectionist and the epitome of an over-organised, over-analytical Virgo so that's way easier said than done, but the most amazing moments will be in places, at times and with people that you never had planned so learn to let go a little. (This is where Tom says, "I told you so").
- Good things come to those who hustle -
Not those who wait. Those who are happy to wait will just get what's left over from the go-getters. So get yourself out there, get your name out there, and go after the things and the life that you want. After all, life is made by design, not by default - right, Sunniva? (The best words of wisdom from this amazing chick).
- There's never going to be a right time -
You were talking about heading to London at 22 and you've only just manned up and moved at 27.. Don't wait for all the stars in all areas of life to align before you do something - moving to the other side of the world, breaking up with that person who you know is bad news, handing over that resignation letter. The right time will always be the wrong time for other reasons or for other people so just go for it (but do be a little considerate..!).
- Be perfectly OK with not being perfect -
Us girls have a serious talent: We're too quick to fixate on others' 'perfection' and even quicker to fuss over our own imperfections as a result. It's time to stop viewing life through Instagram-tinted glasses and realise that, no matter how much we tweak, tame and torture ourselves, we're stuck in this body we've been given and that's a damn good place to be. As Coco Chanel said, beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself, so go do you and love everything about it. Other people do so why shouldn't you?
- When it comes to people, it's quality over quantity -
Each birthday you'll get less and less Facebook notifications, but the people who really matter are the ones that won't need Facebook to remind them that you're another year older. Life, and all the funny things it has in store will act as a great filter to determine those who are worth keeping around. As you get older you'll learn that things change, people change, and as you all grow up, sometimes you also grow apart. Some people will run when times get tough, some simply added complexity and negativity to life that you just didn't need, and some had been hanging around for the wrong reasons. But the people that are in your life at 27 are there, and still there, for a reason. They're worth the effort, the extra mile and keeping in touch with no matter how busy life gets (although at 27 you will still be shocking at keeping up the communication - sorry team! Consider that on the New Year's resolution list).
- Be kind. Be grateful. Be humble -
No explanation necessary. Ain't nobody got time for anyone who's not.
- the statistics will be right -
Turns out that your 27th year will take the cake (but I'm hoping I can still prove the study wrong and the best years just keep on coming). However, it's only an amazing year because of what you've done to get there and what happened along the way so work hard, play hard and enjoy it.
- Even if you knew all this at 22, you still won't have life figured out at 28 -
Hindsight's a wonderful thing. It's so easy to look back on life; to wish that you'd done something differently or known something more than you did. But maybe I didn't need to know any of these things..
27 still worked out the way that it did even though I was clueless about them at 22. And I'm pretty sure that I'll spend 2018 still trying to figure them out and follow my own advice now.
Happy New Years lovers. Here's to you and to an amazing 2018!
What was the greatest lesson you took out of your twenties or 2017?
Leave your answers below - maybe we can all learn a thing or two xx
your words of wisdom
- Don't be afraid to let go of the things that don't serve you
- Trust in yourself & your ability; new doors always open when they're supposed to
- Don't take everything so seriously
- Family and friends are the most important things in life
- Smile everyday because you only get to live one life
- Be more patient & thankful
- You are not immortal & neither is your family
- Health & happiness are the best things that you could wish for
- Take care of your health and appreciate it while you have it
- Relationships only thrive when the love is selfless